Another scandal is hitting Polk County Fire Rescue.
8 On Your Side has learned that a battalion chief is under investigation for allegedly cheating on a paramedic school exam.
In a complaint, Battalion Chief Bobby Bohn is accused of removing a firefighter from an engine, severely understaffing that engine with only two people, so the firefighter could help him take an online paramedic exam.
County officials confirmed an investigation is underway into the cheating allegation, but would not comment further.
8 On Your Side has also learned Polk County Fire Rescue is expected to pay Bohn tens of thousands of dollars for Bohn to attend paramedic school.
Union members are outraged, calling the decision a waste of taxpayer money because Bohn is expected to retire within the next few years.
“We should be fiscally responsible to the taxpayers and good stewards and say you know we’re not going to spend this much money, but they didn’t,” said Polk County Professional Firefighters Health and Safety Chairman Jay Schwartz.
Schwartz told 8 On Your Side that the county will end up paying nearly $100,000 if they continue to send Bohn to paramedic school through overtime, tuition and other expenses.
Bohn is required to go to paramedic school after the fire department made a decision in 2017 that officials who are ranked captain and above must have paramedic training.
Schwartz said the union agreed to drop this requirement for Bohn because of his retirement, but said the county is refusing to.
“Take that money, fix our step plan which is 26 steps, bring it down to 13 so we can retain and recruit firefighters for the county. If they didn’t want to do that, they could have taken that money that they’re going to pay one individual, and put 13 people into paramedic school.”
Schwartz said the only person who can make the call, yet has refused to do so, is Deputy County Manager Joe Halman.
8 On Your Side made multiple attempts to contact Halman about the situation but did not hear back.
PREVIOUS INVESTIGATIONS INTO POLK COUNTY FIRE RESCUE:
- Polk woman on phone with 911 operator 20 minutes & never rescued from fire
- Dispatch reveals first crew responding to deadly fire did not attempt to rescue woman
- Polk fire captain at center of investigation placed on administrative duty
- Polk County changes 911 policies following deadly fire
- Family of Polk Co. woman who died waiting to be rescued from fire addresses county commission
- Polk Co. Fire Rescue dealing with major firefighter shortage
- No deal reached with Polk County Firefighter’s Union